S1c Michael Savinski


S1c Michael Savinski

Michael Savinski, born March 25, 1918 to immigrants, joined the Navy in October 1940 because it was steady work.

Before that, he helped his father, Stephen, cut wood to sell to residents of Chester, Pennsylvania southwest of Philadelphia. The father, who was from Poland and a blacksmith by trade, also made and sold cottage cheese during the Depression. The mother, Anna or Annie, was from the Russian Ukraine.

The father had fallen sick, as evidenced by the 1930 U.S. Census which showed him as unemployed. Just two of the eight members of the household had outside jobs that year — teen sisters working at a silk mill. Michael was 12.

Before enlisting, he attended the Franklin School and was an auto mechanic at Keeley’s Garage. 

He was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed on Dec. 7, 1941 in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

One of his sisters, Julia, recalled years later that he was “a perfect gentleman and a perfect brother. He always talked about the Navy and wanted to see the world, and then he joined and he just loved it.”

Sources: Delaware County Daily Times of Chester, Pennsylvania; The Philadelphia Inquirer; Census. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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